No longer in a mood for intellectual stimuli, she closes the heavy bound manual choosing to peruse a fluff espionage thriller type novel instead as she sits at a cafe and enjoys what is left of the wonderful weather. Autumn has hit in full Technicolor glory and such lovely days where a light cardigan was the only protection needed against the slight breeze were numbered. El sol glares bright enough to require her pulling down the sunglasses that were holding back the tumble of curls from her face to cover her eyes as she is part reading – part people watching while she slowly sips her jasmine infused tea. Pushing an errant curl behind her ear, she gazes out, spying a man walking up the street in the near distance.
No, walking is not the right word, he strutted.
Not a cocky Tony Moreno, a la Saturday Night Fever, strut. This was a cool measured purposeful stride. Looking mostly straight ahead, he had a destination, but with his thumb hooked in his belt front loop, he oozed self-confidence as he moved. Despite the casualness of his stride, she somehow knew he missed nothing of what was going on around him. As he came near the cafe he broke stride for only the briefest moment as he suddenly smiled.
She casually looks over her shoulder to see what fortunate woman was the lucky recipient of such wonderful smile, because why the hell would anyone want to deal with the likes of her.
She blinks, Whoa! Where the hell did that come from?
She already knew the answer before the question was asked, him; her ex-husband.
The man, her very young self had invested everything short of her soul to have. The public prince who was anything but behind closed doors. And a vivacious, outgoing, somewhat vain young woman was slowly changed into a dispirited, introverted recluse. She had turned into the living embodiment of the worthless, lackluster person he called her, proving his point. It took seven years of the abuse to get to that magic breaking point where she walked out the door one morning and never came back. On July 7th at 7am as it coincidentally, turned out. The Lucky Seventh as she eventually called the year. It was another two years of damn good friends and therapy before the divorce was final and another four years since then to now. In the interim she had already gone through the thrilling rise and tragic fall of a rebound relationship, another short courtship that ended amicably, had finally finished her masters, was now working on her doctorate and for the first time in a very long time was truly happy with herself. Still, every now and then, the hateful diatribe he once pounded into her would rear its ugly head and pop into her consciousness, like now.
The only other people sitting at the cafe were a couple currently oblivious to anything else in the world, but each other. The guy was almost within yards of her now, looking dead at her nodding a slight greeting; the smile was definitely for her. She knew if she didn’t respond, the smile would leave his face, he would keep going and that would be the end it; just two people acknowledging each in passing as it were, nothing more. For some reason she wanted more.
Why the hell would anyone want to deal with the likes of her? Why the hell not?
She takes the shades from her eyes, breaths and returns the smile.
Thanks to that darn instigator of personal writing challenges (yes you GirlGriot). I am now compelled to attempt the 30/30 Challenge. I will write 30 (hopefully), short stories in 30 days. Welcome to Day 1.